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Old 11-22-2022, 02:08 AM
Pirx's Avatar
Pirx Pirx is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 42
Default Mac Studio config - help needed


I need to update my old 2012 Mac Pro as more and more plugins require higher OS than Mojave… I’m not good with computers and hope that maybe you could help me here.
I want to buy Mac Studio and wonder which configuration will suit my needs.
My current Mac spec is as follows:

Processor - 2x3,46 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
Memory - 64 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
Graphics - Radeon RX580 8 GB
I have 4 monitors connected. 2 monitors for pro tools windows, 1 TV for video and this one is mirrored to 1 monitor in recording studio.

This configuration is sufficient, I’m not getting any errors, crashes, the video playback is smooth. So I don’t need to upgrade the configuration much.

Could you please suggest which Mac Studio configuration will be just a little better than my current? :)
M1 Max with 64 GB RAM will do? Which GPU? (I don’t know how to compare the GPU stuff with my current graphics)

I’d be very grateful for your help.
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Old 11-24-2022, 04:52 AM
dominicperry dominicperry is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 625
Default Re: Mac Studio config - help needed

The page you need is:

The CPU power of either Max or Ultra is way more than you presently have.
The GPU power is harder to compare, but check that page for display resolutions - you have one HDMI port on the Studio and multiple TB ports which can be used for displays or adapters. There is support for maximum of 4 displays. I would be very surprised if the base config was unable to support your existing screens.
The three biggest concerns are:

1) Upgradeability. No upgradeability of CPU/GPU/RAM/SDD on a Studio. Never. Once you've bought it, that's what you have. So, if you start doing complex high-res video production or Atmos mixes or something different from what you've been doing up until now, it will either cope or it won't.
2) Expandability - no room for cards in a Studio of any type, HDX, BlackMagic, UAD, etc etc. Everything you buy has to go on the outside. For this reason, the Ultra wins out, because it has 6 Thunderbolt ports and the Max has only 4 Thunderbolt ports (the other two are just USB on the Max). I personally like to limit myself to one device per port, except for unimportant things. So displays, audio interfaces, AVB connectors, active disk drives (i.e. sample drives, session drives, video drives) get their own port. I'm happy to put iLoks and backup drives and keyboards and stuff on a great long string or hub, but anything critical benefits from a dedicated port.
3) software updates - the more powerful machines get, the more developers write software which uses the power. So what you buy now might not accommodate the latest and greatest versions of PT or plugins etc in 5-10 years. That's the same for any computer purchase, there's nothing special about the Studio from that perspective, other than the two points above.

Buy at least as much memory as you currently use. Ignore people who tell you that M1 memory is twice the goodness of Intel memory. It's guff. If you need 64GB now, you need 64GB tomorrow, and you'll need even more next year.

Buy a big internal SSD if you can afford it, and use it for everything. Backup externally.
The internal SSD is super-fast, and more reliable than any external drive even if it's just because you can't bump or knock or damage a cable. But you can't upgrade it once you've bought it, as already mentioned.

As a final point, in my personal experience my MBP 16" M1 Max with 64GB RAM and 10 CPU cores, 32GPU cores is just as fast as my Mac Pro 7.1 16 core 48GB RAM with Radeon 580. But three Thunderbolt ports on the MBP is a bit restrictive - more would be nice.

MacBookPro M1Max 16" 10/32 64GB 2TB, Monterey 12.6.3, Pro Tools 2022.12, Carbon.
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Old 11-24-2022, 05:15 AM
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JFreak JFreak is online now
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Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 23,543
Default Re: Mac Studio config - help needed

I think for you the main thing to figure out are the displays. The new stuff only work with single HDMI and multiple thunderbolt/displayports

You can possibly extend single thunderbolt port with a hub (check satechi.com for example) to carry more displays per port, and therefore leave some ports for other expansion. But if the specs say it supports 4 displays which is what you need, it is all good. You just need to enter the realm we call The Adapter Hell.
What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
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Old 11-24-2022, 05:43 AM
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Ben Jenssen Ben Jenssen is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Oslo
Posts: 4,912
Default Re: Mac Studio config - help needed

There is also the option to keep what you have and get it to Catalina or Big Sur, and get a few more years out of it. Google 'Dosdude' to find out how to install those on unsupported macs. I got my old mac pro 2008 to High Sierra with Dosdude method. Worked just fine, and is not very difficult. That's what I would do, and save up money for the next generations of macs coming next year and beyond.
Life-long audio enthusiast and small studio owner. Retired. Ben's Blog
Mac Mini M1, 16GB RAM. MacOS 11.6.8. PT 2020.12.1
Topping D50 DAC, Dynaudio BM6p, 2 x Artist Mix, SSL UC1, EuControl on iPad.
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Old 11-24-2022, 06:24 AM
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JFreak JFreak is online now
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Tampere, Finland
Posts: 23,543
Default Re: Mac Studio config - help needed


I would probably have done just that for my 2009 Nehalem, but as HD cards top at PT10 there is no point so I stopped at Mavericks (one later than the latest supported).

Just sayin' there may be reasons. And the studio is not bad at all. Once they release the anticipated "pro" the queue may be so long you wished to have that studio already.
What we do in life, echoes in eternity.
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Old 11-24-2022, 11:10 AM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 17,317
Default Re: Mac Studio config - help needed

Uh what interface are you running? Your profile says Mbox 3. If that is correct, there are no drivers for that on Apple silicon. So you will need to purchase a new interface. There are lots of great third party interfaces out there with Apple silicon support.
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:53 PM
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Eric Seaberg Eric Seaberg is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,920
Default Re: Mac Studio config - help needed

We were in a pinch and had to get a Mac Studio that was IN STOCK at the Apple Store. We opted for the stock Ultra and have never looked back... was a great purchase for us and we'll be replacing all of our Pro Towers with this version in our audio suites, moving the towers into our video suites for the slot support.

Happy shopping!!
Eric Seaberg • San Diego, CA
A.E.S., I.E.E.E., S.M.P.T.E., S.P.A.R.S.
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